Nuclear Power: Down for the Count

Down for the Count

A sudden power failure struck New York State's Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station like a sucker punch last week, knocking out vital instruments and warning lights. When backup power systems also failed, operators were unable to monitor the reactor core for 20 chilling minutes. "It was like losing your speedometer, dashboard lights and headlights when you're going down the road at 70," said Peter Slocum, a spokesman for the State Disaster Preparedness Commission. Plant officials declared a "site area emergency," the second highest level of alert under federal regulations. It was only the third time such an emergency has been declared...

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